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Private equity firm PAI sells out of “transformed” Atos-Reuters

(Reuters) – Private equity firm PAI Partners has sold its 9 percent stake in IT services group Atos, saying the business was “transformed” since July 2008 when it began buying shares.

PAI said on Wednesday it had sold 9.2 million euros at 63.25 euros a share via an accelerated bookbuilding process, a transaction worth 581.9 million euros ($660.1 million). It said the shares were placed with a number of investors.

“The company has profoundly changed. We have been part of that evolution,” PAI partner Michel Paris told Reuters, adding that the business no longer looks like a takeover candidate.

“Atos can no longer be a target,” he said. “The company has already largely demonstrated its role as a consolidator in the information technology services sector”.
Atos shares have climbed 76 percent since July 2008 and have a market value of about 6.7 billion euros. PAI’s return on its investment will depend on the undisclosed dates when it bought blocks of shares.

Last year alone, Atos bought the IT outsourcing arm of Xerox Corp and acquired fellow French IT services group Bull, although in another all-French IT services sector takeover tussle it lost out to rival Sopra in a battle to buy Steria.